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Haunted Weddings: Dia De Los Muertos Shoot

By Jaimz Dillman

Deep in the Mayan Chapel of the Maitland Art Center located in Central Florida- an idea was realized through the talented hands of a team of wedding vendors.

Michele Butler, owner of Michele Butler Events, had the idea brewing for a while to combine the vitality of Dia De Los Muertos with a wedding celebration. The architecture of the former artist colony made a perfect backdrop for the bright hues of the floral and decor.

"We had staff and their families painting skulls for weeks", said Lee Forrest of Lee Forrest Designs. Providing the arrangements, decor, and various religious relics it was up to Forrest to create a look that embodied the theme as well as the event. This was also the first appearance of figures Bone-ita and Juan Escueleto who have become regulars of the team's Halloween shoot over the years.

Bright sunflowers, gerbera daisies, hydrangea, carnations, Croatan leaves, butterflies, and loads of candles were used throughout the tablescapes as well as various colored roses which were the highlight of the bride's flower crown, and 3 different bouquets. Even though they were a little larger than life for this photoshoot, the arrangements are sure to be an inspiration to future couples wanting an eclectic mix of floral a little outside of the traditional. Forrest says, "bigger is better!"

As many couples are turning to the internet and resources like Etsy for their vendors, the team found perfect stationery with Citali Creativo. Creating custom invitation suites is the specialty of this Seattle-based boutique company and they provided the best mix of a delicate design mimicking a papel picado banner and bold fonts. 

Creating the desired setting wasn't easy and 4 different rental companies- Over the Top Rental Linens, Orlando Wedding and Party Rental, RW  Events/Weddings by 2+Hue, and Max King Events- supplied items used to get the rich textures and colors found in Mexican culture. Seen in the linens, plates, glasses, and silverware, Butler says, "You may think, okay I get the festive and the vibrant, but how can a wedding be macabre? Don’t you say, ‘'Til death do us part'?"

Dress boutique Calvet Couture provided precisely the gown needed by Alvina Valenta set off by perfectly matched jewels and baubles from Jenny Packham and Sabika Jewelry. Even though the groom's attire was a bit harder to track down, a last-minute find at Dechoes Resale ended up being just the right fit. Don't be afraid to look in unexplored places to find unique and interesting items for the big day.

After studying up on sugar skull makeup the team of Marigold Scott brought examples to the set. They effortlessly created one-of-a-kind looks for the wedding party including bold painted faces with soft and romantic up-do's for the ladies. The models, picked by photographer Olivia Ginn of In Style Imagery, were chosen after a couple of weeks' worth of searching. And her photos attest to the great care taken to make sure everything was as dazzling as possible. The emotion and specific consideration each vendor put forth is reflected beautifully throughout the gallery. 

To round out the features of a wedding day Cut the Cake provided a stunning 3-tier square fondant and stenciled cake. The contrast of the dark black and gold with the bright piping work is truly striking. For many weddings, the wedding cake becomes a centerpiece of the reception and this one would definitely be no exception.  Finishing off the table settings, dishes from local Peach Valley Cafe were added for a realistic touch. Usually, photoshoots don't worry about something like food on the plates but this extra detail just put another layer on the already amazing collaboration.

This was the first year the friends gathered as a group of vendors to put their collective creative minds together. The ending result was surely something that kicked the standard bridal shoot up a notch- with just the right twist to make it delightfully wicked. 

Stay tuned for more detailed haunted weddings coming in the next few weeks! Dia De Los Muertos- Michele Butler EventsLee Forrest Design LLC & In Style ImageryMarigold Scott On Location Hair & Makeup Calvet Couture Bridal Boutique RW Events, LLC & Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Cut The Cake


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